Volkswagen has big plans in store for a resurgence in the U.S. market.
The German automaker has laid out a new strategy for growing sales in the United States as part of a larger plan to take on Toyota for the title of the world's biggest automaker.
The goal is to raise VW sales in the U.S. to 800,000 units a year by 2018. That would be roughly a 300 percent increase over its current volume, which has now dropped below 300,000 units.
Stefan Jacoby, who heads VW's North American division, stated the claim boldly at a press briefing at the company's Virginia headquarters, "We want to be the No. 1 automaker globally," he is quoted as saying in the Detroit Free Press.
But VW has a long way to go to raise its volumes that much in North America and do so profitably. Current exchange rates preclude VW from growing their sales by importing vehicles from their manufacturing base in Europe. To sell vehicles profitably, VW must build their models locally and must offer more products that are a better fit to U.S. consumer tastes.
Jacoby has already stated VW's intention to add new models to their North American lineup. That includes are larger mid-sized sedan, bigger and cheaper than the current Passat, to compete against the likes of the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord. That vehicle, VW says, will be assembled at a new plant VW is building in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The company also says it will field a 7-passenger SUV for the market and have updated versions of the Jetta and Beetle models that would be more appealing to local taste. VW is also promising to improve quality.
But VW will need more than one new assembly plant to offset losses on currency valuations. That will require more suppliers to keep the content as local as possible. VW has also said it will likely have to build an engine plant in the region too.